Both Skerrit (left) and Maduro addressed a ceremony on Wednesday

Both Skerrit (left) and Maduro addressed a ceremony on Wednesday

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and President of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, have spoken highly of PetroCaribe and ALBA, stressing their importance to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Skerrit said the initiatives are serving as a lifeblood to countries across the region, while Maduro described PetroCaribe as a regional backbone for economic growth.

“Not many, but some people in this world has criticized Petro Caribe, they have criticized ALBA, demonized President (Hugo) Chavez and President Maduro and the people of Venezuela, but it is those very same instruments of integration and cooperation that are serving as a life blood to many of our countries across Latin America and across the Caribbean,” Skerrit said at a ceremony during a visit by Maduro on Wednesday.

Skerrit remarked that the two speak to the vision of the late President Chavez, who he said, noted that Latin America and Caribbean integration is required “in order for us to get our people out of poverty, to create a better way of life for our people, to give our people hope and to give a voice to the millions who are voice-less.

He stated that Dominica has seen success due to ALBA and PetroCaribe through reduction in poverty and investments in agriculture, education, housing and others.

“Mr. President we will always be eternally grateful to your people and the sincere hand of friendship that the people of Venezuela have extended to us,” Skerrit stated. “Words will never be able to express our gratitude to you. I am a strong supporter and advocate of Petro Caribe and ALBA…”

He argued that the intitiatives are not about ideology but reality.

“It’s about dealing with real challenges in the world,” he remarked, adding “it’s about coming together and sharing ideas and that’s what ALBA and Petro Caribe is all about. It is about brotherhood and for women, sisterhood. It’s about coming together and to confront common challenges together and the experiment has worked.”

Skerrit mentioned that there were many who doubted that the Petro Caribe would last more than a 365 days.

“There are many people who said it would not last for one year, there are many international financial institutions which criticized PetroCaribe but today you will see the reports indicating that this is an important financing mechanism for many of the participating countries,” he noted.

Meanwhile Maduro said ten years after the formation of PetroCaribe, it has become, the “back bone of these regions that has enabled the economic, commercial and the social, and the energy stability of this region.”

“Ten years ago they said that is impossible,” he stated. “Today we say not only is it possible but it is our path, our path towards solidarity, complementarity, and mutual growth.”

The Venezuelan President also said Dominica can count on his country’s support and that of ALBA and Petro Caribe.

“All the pains that you have suffered in the wake of the passing of the storm Erika have been followed very closely by all your friends in the region,” Maduro noted.